Not until we also have artificial microbes to help us digest that

Artificial, NOT FOOD, Diet, Science, Fiber, Sweetener

We are not made of plastic, so why would we eat artificial stuff? Think about it.

You might have heard about this.

If you haven’t, then it is high time.

Although I have no tendency towards crying wolf, this is quite scary, and prompts me to want to warn everyone against certain aspect of our modern food supply.

For far too long we have been treating our bodies as if they were simple machines to which we only need to provide fuel (food) and some lubrication (water) to keep it going. What this picture of the human body, what I call the car analogy, fails to recognize is the intricacies, the inter-connectedness if you wish, of the processes that take place inside our bodies. That’s partially why I really hate car analogies; they are too simplistic by far.

Thanks to recent research into the microbiome in our digestive system, the microbes (bacteria and viruses) that live in our guts, this picture is being drastically revised.

So I’d like to draw your attention to two recent items of information that are hinting at greater care to be taken about what we allow into our bodies.

(Hint: Food is a good thing. NOT FOOD, not so much.)

Added Fibre

We’ve all heard that our diet could use more fiber (or fibre, if you are Canadian or British). It seems the entire (developed) world is constipated, by the sound of it. And we are not feeling full soon enough, so we keep eating, to the point of eating too much, which does not help with the constipation part.

Fibre, you see, no matter how you spell it, affects satiety, the feeling of having eaten enough, and facilitates the transit of food through our digestive tract. Eating more of it is a good thing because you feel full faster, and stuff goes through you more smoothly. Or at least comes out more easily. (Enough said. At least there is no car analogy for that.)

So what are we to do about it?

Eating food containing fibre is of course too difficult for most of us. (I’m being facetious. Bear with me.) So we must find easier ways. That’s where the folks who sell us food products come in. (Notice the presence of the word “products” in the previous sentence? That’s also a hint.)

And thus enter added fibres in our diets. Through a lot of products we are sold with added fibre.

What those companies don’t tell you, and what the recent research results seem to demonstrate, is that this added fibre is not of the kind that really makes a positive difference for our bodies. You would think that in order to add fibre in their products, companies would extract them from food sources in the first place. But that’s not the case. It is a lot cheaper to take fibre from non-food sources.

Unfortunately, those additives, I call them artificial fibre in the sense of not being fibre occurring naturally in food, are the wrong size and the wrong type to do the job. Simply put (from the Nutrition Action Newsletter):

“But all these added fibres are really different,” explains (Joanne) Slavin (professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota). “If people think, ‘I’ll get nine grams of fibre in this chocolate bar and I won’t have to worry about getting enough fibre,’ that’s a mistake.” (…)

“Most added fibres don’t affect satiety,” noted Slavin. “If you can sneak added fibre into a food or drink and it doesn’t affect the taste, it’s not likely to have any effect on satiety.”

Basically, added fibre is a marketing gimmick that does nothing good. But as it goes through you, it could do something bad to some of the good bacteria in there, so why risk it? At any rate, don’t waste your money products containing such NOT FOOD.

Artificial Sweeteners

It seems we also have a sweet tooth, for various reasons, the most important of them having to do with evolution and the scarcity of nutrient-rich food sources throughout most of that time.

But too much sugar means too many calories, and the logical consequences of weight gain and increased risks of negative health outcomes like heart disease and diabetes (to mention only those).

Once again, asking us to reduce our consumption of sugar is obviously not the way to go. Especially since it seems sweets are practically addictive.

So what is to be done?

The obvious answer is to find alternatives that are as sweet but that, somehow, do not provide calories.

And thus enter artificial sweeteners into our diet.

In theory, according to all the science artificial sweetening agents’ developers have accumulated, these sweet but otherwise inert additives go through our digestive system without contributing a single calorie.

What they seem to have forgotten, and what new evidence is pointing to, is that as they go through our bodies, artificial sweeteners affect the many living creatures in there. In a nutshell, they modify the equilibrium of our gut microbiome.

This can be bad, as a recent article published in Nature indicated. Why?

Those bacteria and viruses have evolved along with us, and work together with our digestive system. In fact, our digestive system includes the microbiome. But it is also always a bit of a battle between bacteria that help, and bacteria that can hinder our health. When our diet changes, the relative strength of each type of bacteria can be affected. Sometimes in a way that is very detrimental.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s an excerpt from a New Scientist article about the study:

“The most shocking result is that the use of sweeteners aimed at preventing diabetes might actually be contributing to and possibly driving the epidemic that it aims to prevent,” says Eran Elinav at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, who co-supervised the work with his colleague Eran Segal.

Segal says most artificial sweeteners pass through the gastrointestinal tract without being digested. This means that when they get to our intestine, they directly encounter our gut bacteria. Because what we eat can shift this bacterial make-up, the researchers wondered whether the glucose intolerance might be caused by a change in the bacterial composition.

A second test, with saccharin, confirmed this. Wiping out the rodents’ gut bacteria using antibiotics abolished all the effects of glucose intolerance in the mice. In other words, no bacteria, no problem regulating glucose levels.

Further experiments supported this conclusion. For example, when the researchers transferred the gut bacteria of mice who had consumed saccharin into mice whose guts were bacteria-free, it caused these previously healthy mice to become glucose intolerant. Similar transplants from mice drinking glucose-enriched water had no negative effects on health.

So what was going on? When the team analysed the gut bacteria present before and after the experiments, they saw an increase in several different types of bacteria in the mice that consumed sweeteners. Segal says these bacteria have already been linked with obesity in humans in previous studies.

The take home message
In the case of added fibre, which I dubbed artificial fibre, we are being duped into eating indigestible stuff that has no real benefit for our health. That’s the very definition of NOT FOOD.

In the case of artificial sweeteners, some of us might in fact negatively affect their health even as they try to prevent weight gain. Far from helping control conditions like pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes, it may contribute to causing such diseases in some people.

There is only one sure way to not get duped, and to promote health through food: Eat real food, not too much, and mostly from plants. If it has been processed by something else than the bio-mechanical and bio-molecular apparatus of something alive, be very, very cautious.

Understand that we are animals, inhabited by other animals and microbes with which we have co-evolved, and that together we are supposed to eat natural food.

Until we have some artificial gut microbes designed specifically to deal with any artificial stuff we might put in our bodies, we should refrain from eating any.

No need to think particularly long or hard about it. It’s a no-brainer!

You can find a blog post from Scientific American that talks about the research on artificial sweeteners; it has a link to the original article in Nature, in case the one I provided earlier in this post does not work. It is the same research about which the New Scientist article was talking in issue 2987 published on September 17, 2014 (written by Helen Thomson).

For some information on added (artificial) fibre, look into the Nutrition Action Newsletter of October 2014; it is a publication of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Picture from Pixabay.

Why do we keep talking about dieting and special diets?

Dieting, Diet, Food, Movement

What shall we eat? No more pixie dust, that’s for sure…

Recent posts by one of the very few sources I consider reliable on nutrition prompted me to revisit the theme of diet. So I hope you can stomach one more post on this topic. I’m going to try to make it worth your while by presenting a hint of a solution.

If you have not yet read what Dr. David Katz has to say on the subject, stop reading this right now, and go read a few of his posts instead. I won’t mind. Really.

Still with me? Perhaps you only have a few minutes, so allow me to summarize the current status. (And provide links to his most recent and relevant posts; some are on LinkedIn and may require an account to access.)

Let me make something clear right off the bat:

Dieting does No Good

Dieting does not work. It’s that simple. I’ve written about it myself, and this post by Dr. Katz is quite entertainingly showing that all serious nutrition experts, those not trying to sell you something, say so.

This video about a much-publicized recent study does what journalists always (erroneously) think is better journalism: providing statements from both sides, even though it is a non-debate.

Even having a good overall diet, eating food (not too much) and mostly from plants, is not enough if you are trying to lose a lot of weight, and/or remain healthy for a really long time. For that, you need to exercise, to move, on a daily basis. It is a lifestyle issue, not a diet issue.

But that’s hard work. Are we sure there’s nothing we can do about the food we eat? (Or so we keep asking ourselves.)

In the absence of successful “mainstream” diets, people turn to even stranger diets, like the would-be paleo diet. But even that, as I’ve indicated previously, and as Dr. Katz has put it time and time again (as reported here as well), is part of repeated attempts at making believe we can get fit and slim without doing real work.

So despite dieting not working, why do we keep talking about diet as if it is the solution? Why is it that every so often a new kind of special diet starts and claims to be the solution we’ve been looking for?

Basically, the question is:

Why do we keep focusing on dieting?

Because it is appealing to us.

Most (all?) of us have a tendency to seek easy fixes, magical solutions, silver bullets. I feel this is primarily due to our innate tendency to assign simple cause and effect relationships to phenomena: if this bush moves, that’s probably because there is a tiger ready to jump on me, sort of thinking. In this case: I’m getting fatter, so it must be what I’m eating.

To some extent it is, but that’s not the point. We focus on the wrong culprit at the expense of the white elephant on the couch.

The main aspect of our lifestyle that is different from what our ancestors of even a hundred years ago had to deal with is lack of movement.

Yes, it would be harder to move a lot more; it is effort. But there is more at play:

We are constantly bombarded by good stories that, even though they are scientifically unsound, appeal to our innate need for those causation narratives. Those stories are how modern snake oil salespersons get us time and time again.

If, as I surmise, this is a big part of the problem, it also suggests a way to fight.

A way forward?

While I generally agree with Dr. Katz that we should “grow up” about it, and that we must make the effort to eat well, along with exercising, not smoking, etc., I think we need a pro-active approach as well.

Since the ease with which stories can be created about special diets is part of the problem, perhaps a good story could be part of the solution. We need new narratives to replace those of the pixie dust diets, successful precisely because, although they don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny, they appeal to us through simple (simplistic) stories. We can keep telling ourselves, and others, the well-articulated lies we were told by the dieting peddlers precisely because they are simple enough.

On the other hand, the “I eat food, not too much, mostly from plants” story requires more explanations when you try to discuss it with others, and few of us have the knowledge to feel comfortable doing that.

There should not be a need for more explanation; our ancestors did not feel such need. They just ate what food they had.

The problem nowadays is that we have way too much, and it is all way too rich for our own good. In a see of contradictory advice and the occasional about-face of scientists themselves (which is even harder to explain for non-scientists), we all feel a need to justify our choices.

What better way to justify those choices than a good story?

So that’s the narrative, the story, we need to work on, instead of just de-bunking the others (not that there’s anything wrong with de-bunking). Allow me to have a go at a first draft.

A proto-story for healthy living

Begin Story

I am a human being, an animal that has evolved over millions of years to actively seek and eat a wide variety of plants and other animals.

Lately I’ve been extracting even more nutriments from my environment by cooking and domesticating my food sources. That’s great progress.

But my body has not yet evolved to remain healthy by staying put all the time and eating heavily processed stuff. Yes, stuff: there is no better word for some of what our modern society provides.

So I need to move on a daily basis, a lot, and eat foods that are as close to their natural forms as possible. That means different things to different people, but to me it means plants and some animals that have not strayed very far from their natural lifecycles. When I eat that way, I find that I eat less because I feel full sooner. And the more I move, the more I crave good food, and the better I feel.

If machines and chemical processes other than the digestive systems of other animals have been involved, I am very careful with how much I consume.

And always, no matter what I eat, I make sure to move a lot. Everyday.

End Story

That’s it. C’mon, it’s not that hard to memorize. Give it a try. You can even substitute something for “plants and animals” if you are so philosophically inclined. No problem.

Or comment with suggestions to improve it…

But, in any case, I have a final piece of advice for you about the claims of Diet Peddlers:

Diet, Exercise, Movement, Everyday

What to do when somebody tries to convince you their dieting approach is going to work…

Top picture from Pixabay.

Revisiting the “The Paleo Thing”

Paleo, Diet, Movement, Daily

Hunting appears to have defined us, but it is only part of the (pre)history.

Since writing the “Let’s do the Paleo Thing (yeah!)” post a couple of weeks ago, I came across a highly relevant article from National Geographic.

So I thought I would share the link, and cherry-pick some of the key passages to save you time. It is well worth the read, so I urge you to not just read this post.

Now, although the article was actually published before I wrote my blog post, I must insist that I had not read it.

It just so happens that the article makes pretty much the same arguments I did, only with more smart people being quoted in the process:

1) The Paleolithic is defined by more than what humans ate, and the main problem is the change in lifestyle, not what we eat:

“Studies suggest that indigenous groups get into trouble when they abandon their traditional diets and active lifestyles for Western living. Diabetes was virtually unknown, for instance, among the Maya of Central America until the 1950s. As they’ve switched to a Western diet high in sugars, the rate of diabetes has skyrocketed. Siberian nomads such as the Evenk reindeer herders and the Yakut ate diets heavy in meat, yet they had almost no heart disease until after the fall of the Soviet Union, when many settled in towns and began eating market foods. Today about half the Yakut living in villages are overweight, and almost a third have hypertension, says [biological anthropologist William Leonard of Northwestern University]. And Tsimane people who eat market foods are more prone to diabetes than those who still rely on hunting and gathering.”

“Many paleoanthropologists say that although advocates of the modern Paleolithic diet urge us to stay away from unhealthy processed foods, the diet’s heavy focus on meat doesn’t replicate the diversity of foods that our ancestors ate—or take into account the active lifestyles that protected them from heart disease and diabetes.”

2) Knowing exactly what our ancestors ate is nigh-impossible:

“But is it true that we all evolved to eat a meat-centric diet? Both paleontologists studying the fossils of our ancestors and anthropologists documenting the diets of indigenous people today say the picture is a bit more complicated. The popular embrace of a Paleo diet, [paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar of the University of Arkansas] and others point out, is based on a stew of misconceptions.”

3) While meat was indeed part of the diet of our ancestors, the use of fire to cook food was perhaps more important in the greater scheme of things, and we definitely were eating plants, including grains, to survive:

The real Paleolithic diet, though, wasn’t all meat and marrow. It’s true that hunter-gatherers around the world crave meat more than any other food and usually get around 30 percent of their annual calories from animals. But most also endure lean times when they eat less than a handful of meat each week. New studies suggest that more than a reliance on meat in ancient human diets fueled the brain’s expansion.”

“So how do hunter-gatherers get energy when there’s no meat? It turns out that “man the hunter” is backed up by “woman the forager,” who, with some help from children, provides more calories during difficult times. When meat, fruit, or honey is scarce, foragers depend on “fallback foods,” says [paleoanthropologist Alison Brooks of George Washington University].”

““There’s been a consistent story about hunting defining us and that meat made us human,” says Amanda Henry, a paleobiologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. “Frankly, I think that misses half of the story. They want meat, sure. But what they actually live on is plant foods.””

“If [Harvard primatologist Richard Wrangham] is right, cooking not only gave early humans the energy they needed to build bigger brains but also helped them get more calories from food so that they could gain weight.”

Oh, and by the way, we have kept evolving, as can clearly be seen by looking at the various populations around the world, and things like lactose tolerance into adulthood:

“All humans digest mother’s milk as infants, but until cattle began being domesticated 10,000 years ago, weaned children no longer needed to digest milk. As a result, they stopped making the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose into simple sugars. After humans began herding cattle, it became tremendously advantageous to digest milk, and lactose tolerance evolved independently among cattle herders in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Groups not dependent on cattle, such as the Chinese and Thai, the Pima Indians of the American Southwest, and the Bantu of West Africa, remain lactose intolerant.”

“What’s more, she found starch granules from plants on fossil teeth and stone tools, which suggests humans may have been eating grains, as well as tubers, for at least 100,000 years—long enough to have evolved the ability to tolerate them.”

In conclusion (because this is already getting long):

“We have gotten so good at processing foods that for the first time in human evolution, many humans are getting more calories than they burn in a day. “Rough breads have given way to Twinkies, apples to apple juice,” [Wrangham] writes. “We need to become more aware of the calorie-raising consequences of a highly processed diet.””

“It’s this shift to processed foods, taking place all over the world, that’s contributing to a rising epidemic of obesity and related diseases. If most of the world ate more local fruits and vegetables, a little meat, fish, and some whole grains (as in the highly touted Mediterranean diet), and exercised an hour a day, that would be good news for our health—and for the planet.” (Emphasis mine.)

Reference:

The Evolution of Diet, by Ann Gibbons, National Geographic, September 2014, p. 35-53

Picture from Pixabay.

Let’s do the Paleo Thing (yeah!)

(The above title needs to be sung to the tune of “Let’s do the Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.)

Paleo, Diet, Movement

Here’s a picture of something “Paleo.” But is it reality?

This post is not what you think it is.

Why?

Because the Paleo Thing, is not what you think it is.

Bear with me. It will all become clear.

The Paleo Diet is dead…

If you are even remotely interested in health and fitness, you have heard of the Paleo Diet by now.

Most likely than not, what you think you know about it, or what you have been told, is false.

How can I make such a bold statement? Very simply:

1) For starters, we don’t know for sure what our ancestors ate on a daily basis.

What we have is a picture, incomplete at that, of their overall dietary intake. We get this from the analysis of archeological sites dating back many thousands of years, and of human remains when they are available (and often much more recent if they are complete enough to provide information).

To a lesser extent, we get some data from the current diets of so-called “primitive” people that somehow manage to exist in this day and age. So we have bits and pieces, hints scattered all over the place. And we “reconstruct” the most likely scenarios based on that.

But the complete, precise picture will elude us until we have time travel capabilities. (As a physicist, I feel pretty confident about making the equally bold statement that we never will.)

2) More importantly for this discussion, there is hardly any food nowadays that are still exactly the way they were when our ancestors of the Paleolithic were around.

Over thousands of years of selecting, breeding, and, yes, engineering plants and animals, you can be certain that what you eat nowadays is related, but not the same, as what our ancestors ate.

And if you go out of your way to select foods that have not been changed in some way, you are back to the first point I made: chances are very slim that those food items were actually eaten by our ancestors. You can be pretty sure that our ancestors, smart as they were, picked the foods they preferred when they started domesticating things. They would not have spent what little energy and time they had available on the things they did not enjoy eating.

So what you eat nowadays, no matter what anyone tries to sell you, is not what our ancestors ate. It is not, therefore, “Paleo.”

This idea of “eating a Paleo diet” must die once and for all. (Yeah, I know, good luck with that.)

…long live the Paleo Lifestyle

Now, given there is no such thing as a “Paleo Diet”, what is the big fuss about?

There is another reason why adherent to the “Paleo Diet” get it wrong: They pretty much get stuck on the notion that diet is the key to healthy living.

But our ancestors of the Paleolithic had something else going for them that makes all the difference:

They moved more than we do. A lot more.

Just eating well, whatever you call the diet, is not enough if you are entirely sedentary.

On the other hand, moving a lot, even if your diet is less than perfect, makes a huge difference in your health and fitness to survive in this world.

That’s why instead of a “Paleo Diet,” we had better embrace a “Paleo Lifestyle.” A lifestyle that puts emphasis on what contributes most to our health: movement.

So I’m arguing we should embrace the “Paleo Lifestyle” by exercising and moving all the time.

That’s a lot more reasonable that pretending to be eating what our ancestors were eating while taking our cars to the corner store to buy some meat…

But, what about diet? you ask

Good question.

The “thing” in the “Paleo Thing” of the title is that when I talk about lifestyle, I do mean making choices about diet that make sense as well.

Without being “Paleo,” the diet part is actually quite simple, and something our ancestors were indeed doing: eat real foods, mostly from plants, and as close as possible to the way they are found in nature.

To put it another way: seek foods that are not processed, or that have been processed as little as possible.

By the way, that does not mean raw food. Our ancestors had discovered fire for cooking well before agriculture. It also does not mean vegetarian or vegan, though there are excellent ethical and philosophical reasons to embrace such diets.

But keep in mind that we are still physiologically very much like our ancestors. Incidentally, they were opportunistic omnivores, and ate just about what they could find as they moved about and over the seasons. That included roots, fruits, animals, plants, and even insects. At least, that’s the part of the picture that scientists are pretty sure about.

Therefore, the “Paleo Lifestyle” I’m suggesting consists of moving a lot more, on a daily basis, and eating unprocessed foods. (Though I’m still not touching insects.)

I realize that even that, given our current society, is like turning back the clock on a lot of modern comforts and energy-saving technology. It is not easy.

But does it make any more sense than pretending to be eating what our ancestors ate?

At least we know for sure how our ancestors moved: they used their feet!

Movement, Exercise, Paleo, Daily

Embrace the Paleo Lifestyle: use your feet more!

Pictures from Pixabay.

Dieting Does Not Work

Dieting does not work

Trying to lose weight? Stay away from the D verb…

It’s been a long time coming, and for that I must apologize. I was on a sort of “vacation” from No-brainer Fitness. Sort of.

Not an excuse, just the reality of starting a new job and upping my own training for my next Ironman(TM) (IM Louisville, on August 24th, in case you are curious).

And I took the opportunity to do quite a bit of reading, for this post, future posts, and just to relax…

So here it is, the post I’ve been planning for quite some time.

First, let’s be clear about what I mean, and what researchers in this area mean, when we talk about “dieting”.

A “diet” is, as I’ve indicated elsewhere in this blog and on No-brainer Fitness: D, what we eat. The word, a noun, in itself has no implied value of the quality of said diet; it simply is the correct term to describe the overall nutritional intake.

In contrast, when we use the verb “dieting”, or when we say “go on a diet”, we mean following a specifically designed diet that is providing a lower total quantity of calories than is generally required for sustaining normal activities. In effect, dieting is restricting the caloric content of your nutritional intake through a particular set of constraints as to which foods are eaten, or which quantity of food is eaten. Or both.

So it is fair to say things like “that’s not part of my diet” when talking about certain foods, or NOT FOOD items. But careful with anyone saying “I don’t eat that because I’m on a diet.” That spells trouble.

Dieting does not work

Eat well, not too much…

Why?

Because dieting does not work.

You don’t believe me? Perhaps you’d take someone else’s word on it:

“The typical outcome of dieting is that you will gain weight.” -Sandra Aamodt, in a TED Talk

Ah, yes, but that’s hardly better, since you don’t know who she is, and even though she has done way more research on the subject than I have, that’s still no guarantee.

Ok, so perhaps a comprehensive review by researchers on behalf of Medicare? That’s exactly the conclusion reached back in 2007 by researchers at the University of California. The title of the paper would be enough, but it would make for a very short post: “Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatments – Diets Are Not The Answer”.

The main conclusion is that, while some weight loss occurs in the short term, if you follow the dieters for a while after, and it does not even need to be very long, you’ll find that dieting alone will lead to weight being gained back. And often some more.

This is why programs designed to cause weight loss based only, or in large part, on food intake changes are misguided at best, bad for your health at worst.

Dieting does not work

… mostly plants. And don’t forget to move more!

 

Still not convinced? Here are some cherry-picked quotations from the Traci Mann et al. paper:

“As noted in one review, ‘It is only the rate of weight regain, not the fact of weight regain, that appears open to debate’ (Garner & Wooley, 1991, p 740).” Traci Mann et al., 2007, p. 221.

“There is some evidence for the effectiveness of diets in leading to other beneficial health outcomes, particularly in helping people stay off antihypertensive drugs and preventing diabetes, but this evidence is not consistent across the studies. In addition, it is not possible to detect whether the diet components of these interventions were potent, as the interventions all contained other components that may have reduced hypertension or prevented diabetes (e.g. increases in physical activity, reduction in smoking, alcohol use, and sodium).” Traci Mann et al., 2007, p. 224.

Speaking of the effect of exercise, because although not the focus of the research, it was mentioned, here’s a good one about one of the very few studies they came across that indicated a weight loss:

“These results may not directly be due to the diet part of the intervention, but in fact participants in the lifestyle intervention engaged in large amounts of physical activity (averaging 227 minutes per week), and this may be the potent factor.” Traci Mann et al., 2007, p. 222.

A final one, “for the road”:

“In sum, the potential benefits of dieting on long-term weight outcomes are minimal, the potential benefits of dieting on long-term health outcomes are not clearly or consistently demonstrated, and the potential harms of weight cycling, although not definitely demonstrated, are a clear source of concern. The benefits of dieting are simply too small and the potential harms of dieting are too large for it to be recommended as a safe and effective treatment for obesity.”

Don’t, not even for a moment, entertain the thought that, because it is no good for fighting obesity, it may be any better for “just losing a little weight.” The evidence is in, and anyone who tells you dieting works is trying to sell you something.

It appears clear, from this and other sources, that the solution on the food side of things is not to restrict calories and disallow some foods, or focus food intake on some nutrients or particular foods, but rather to promote a more healthy balance of whole foods in a quantity that is sufficient to sustain daily activities. It is a simple recipe: Eat food, not too much, mostly from plants.

As to weight loss, if it is a desired outcome, it must come from increasing the level of activity. There is simply no other sustainable, or healthy, way of achieving that.

So: Eat well, and move a lot.

References:

Traci Mann et al., Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatment – Diets Are Not The Answer, American Psychologist, April 2007, Vol. 62, No. 3, 220-233.

Here’s a link to Sandra Aamodt’s TED talk

Pictures from Pixabay.